Difference and Major Use Cases: Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3


Difference and Major Use Cases: Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3

With the increasing popularity of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) across the world, it is important to know and understand the difference between its various services. If you are planning to invest in cloud infrastructure or have already deployed one, then this post will be of interest to you as it explains the difference between Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3. These are one of the most used and essential services in Amazon Web Services.

We have received many queries from our customers regarding the difference between these two services so before moving to differences, let’s first understand what is EC2 and S3?

Amazon Web Service (AWS) Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2)

So, as we have discussed earlier, AWS EC2 is one of the most essential services for running the cloud servers. It was first introduced in the year 2006 when cloud infrastructure was pretty new in the world and it was a big deal to move your infrastructure to cloud platform. Almost all the companies wanted to move to cloud and avoid the pain the of purchasing, maintaining and managing resources at their end.

Coming back to the AWS EC2, it is a virtual machine hosted on AWS infrastructure, although AWS also offers Bare-Metal EC2 instances as well. So, if you ask what is Bare Metal then it is a cloud instance which allows users to host their workload directly on the physical server instead of using the virtual machine, i.e. EC2. Even in the case of bare metal, the physical server is also managed by Amazon so users do not have to worry about the management and maintenance of the hardware. For the power of EC2 you can choose multiple instances depending on the size of workload or amount of traffic/data. You can find a wide variety of EC2 instances depending on the price point and requirements. Some of the AWS EC2 instances are designed and customized as per the business needs of the customers. There are certain instances designed for customers for parallel processing on GPUs for huge data networks.

In addition to the simple setup and processing, EC2 is also popular for autoscaling, which means it automatically scales up or down depending on the size of the data or traffic in your business network. So, in a way this smart service enables you to optimize the services at less cost. AWS ensures that its customers get the best in class infrastructure at highly competitive rates that deliver best performance.

Amazon Web Service (AWS) Simple Storage Services (S3)

AWS S3 as the name suggests is a storage service which is used for storing large amount of data and manage over cloud using web interface, CLI and API. In order to use the S3 service, it is important that you create a bucket to store the data. You are free to create as many buckets as you want depending on the amount of data that you want to store over cloud. In addition to the S3 services there are few other storage services that you would like to explore before choosing the best that suits your requirements.

So, some of the AWS storage services are AWS EBS and AWS EFS. The reason why EC2 is more popular than these two storage services is because EC2 has been designed to support more complex use cases in case of storage compared to others. In our next post we will also be comparing these three services, i.e. comparison of S3, EBS and EFS for more clarity on which service to choose as per business needs.

AWS EC2 Vs Amazon S3 – Difference and Similarities

Now that you know what is what and how it functions, let’s move ahead to the difference between the services and similarities.

  • EC2 is a hosted cloud-based machine while S3 is related to the storage services. So, both are essential services and in case you are using EC2 then there are chances that you will also need S3 going further.
  • EC2 is majorly used for hosting websites and web applications over cloud. In case of S3 it is highly useful for storing data and managing it in a systematic way for the websites or web applications.
  • S3 data buckets can be used to backup the data of from the EC2 instances. It is one of the major use cases among various other that you can consider while implementing the services.
  • As S3 data buckets can be seamlessly accessed by multiple EC2 instances it can be a useful solution for sharing data between the various instances.

In some cases, EC2 and S3 do not go hand-in-hand, for example, for dynamic websites and storage services EC2 and S3 cannot work in synch. Similarly, there are other options apart from S3 for the local storage or data backup, whereas S3 can backup data only in the buckets. So in simple words, if you want to choose the AWS services then it is important that you have complete knowledge or take consult certified AWS consultant. Based on the business needs, infrastructure type and amount of data the AWS services can be combined or chosen. Despite the differences, both the services, AWS S3 and EC2 also compliment each other.

For more information regarding the AWS consulting service, you can contact us at partners@vianalabs.com